Monday, July 25, 2011

Clinton still defiant after second EPA report critical of State Dept. whitewash of Keystone XL pipeline threat to country's biggest underground aquifer

Clinton: stubbornly supporting
a pipeline which will almost
certainly poison the US's most
important aquifer.
In its second editorial against the Keystone XL pipeline, even the New York Times is taking note of the belligerent intransigence of a State Department, which, according to WikiLeaks, (Thank you Bradley Manning!) made up its mind long ago to support what will be the most toxic and risky oil pipeline in America. (Keystone XL is an extension to a new pipeline which has already leaked 11 times in less than a year and it will carry abrasive, highly corrosive tar sands at extremely high pressure (1400-1600 PSI) at temperatures up to 160 degrees below the water table of North America's biggest underground aquifer, even though it could be routed elsewhere.)
For the second time in a year, the State Department has issued an environmental impact statement about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry diluted bitumen — an acidic crude oil — from the tar sands of northern Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast.
     And for the second time in a year, the Environmental Protection Agency has excoriated the State Department for the inadequacy of its assessment.
      The department...must demonstrate that it can be an honest broker — appraising the pipeline on the merits, not because of politics or pressure from the Canadian government, Big Oil and the industry's friends in Congress.
     ...Keystone XL would cross sensitive terrain where a spill of diluted bitumen would be especially damaging, including the porous Sand Hills of Nebraska and the shallow Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies much of the Midwest with water.
     The risks are real. An earlier pipeline — carrying tar sands oil to the Midwest and built by TransCanada, the company planning to build Keystone XL — has had several spills, including recent ones in North Dakota and Kansas... And, the agency notes, both of the environmental assessments failed to consider alternative routes.
     ...We oppose this pipeline for several reasons besides its threat to the aquifer... The extraction process also destroys precious boreal forests, pollutes regional water supplies and creates substantially more greenhouse gases than conventional crude, though Canada insists it is making significant progress toward reducing emissions.

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